Monday, February 2, 2009

Are you kidding?

Some mornings I don't have any idea what to blog. There was nothing of particular interest in the weekend papers -- mostly it was a lot of conjecture about the coming legislative session -- and I'm in the dumps over losing my Super Bowl bet and wondering when/where the LVRocks studio will reconstitute itself.

And then...this oddity lands in my box from the Clark County Desert Conservation Program.

Mojave Max
He’s the West Coast Version of the Groundhog

Today, Feb. 2, many residents across the country celebrate Groundhog Day while West Coast residents begin to look forward to the annual emergence of Mojave Max.

Mojave Max is a live tortoise. Like Punxsutawney Phil, the famous groundhog, Mojave Max’s response to weather signifies when spring will arrive in Southern Nevada. Like all desert tortoises, Mojave Max goes to sleep in October or November of each year. He sleeps for five or six months and then emerges sometime in the spring, signaling the beginning of the season.

To increase interest and excitement in this event, Clark County hosts the annual Mojave Max Emergence Contest. This contest encourages students to study the behavior of desert tortoises and guess when Mojave Max will first exit his burrow each year. Mojave Max usually emerges in March, but has emerged as early as Feb.14, and as late as Apr. 14, in past years.

Temperature, daylight, and an internal clock are the three critical factors that determine when Mojave Max will first exit his burrow each year. The Clark County student who guesses closest to the actual time of Mojave Max’s emergence and their entire class will receive medals, t-shirts, a pizza party, and a field trip to Red Rock National Conservation Area.

For more information and contest entry log on to or

OK. Now, I'm all for desert conservation and teaching the young 'uns about animals. But there are a few problems with this:

1. What "season" is Mojave Max predicting? That it's going to get hot? We need a turtle for this?

2. I've been living here on and off for 12 years. I've never "looked forward" to Mojave Max waking from his slumber. Have any of you? And by "you" I mean anyone reading in the entire West Coast, according to this press release.

3. If this is a science lesson and not a lesson in mythology, then the kiddies ought to be told that Punxsutawney Phil is a fraud and, while an entertaining diversion, is not actually a scientific predictor of any weather patterns whatsoever. Also, the Tooth Fairy is usually your mom.

4. Las Vegas has so much. The Super Bowl. March Madness. New Year's Eve. Big fights. The World Series of Poker. Cirque du Soleil. CES. Manilow. Must we really swoop in and attempt to compete with a pathetic little Pennsylvania village that has just one ridiculous thing to its name? Is that really fair?


Anonymous said...

the tooth fairy in my family was my dad. my mom is dead. how does THAT make you feel, Friesster?

Troy in Las Vegas said...

What is strange is the Las Vegas Sun reported Mojave Max died in July 2008.

R-J Guy said...

There's a Mojave Max scandal!!! That's hilarious!!!

Bay in TN said...

OMG! Who tinkled in your Wheaties, Steve? It's a darlin' little tortoise in the desert, for cryin' out loud. I loved Mojave Max and was very sad last summer when he died just a few days after I was out at Red Rock Canyon trying to see him.

I don't think LV is trying to compete with the silly and pointless groundhog thing. I think they're just trying to stir interest in something a lot more natural and less staged than the silly groundhog thing.

You're just being cynical!

And yeah, I really was wondering if someone had appointed a new Mojave Max -- what's his story? Where did he come from? And how long will he live? Tortoises are cool, dang it!

(I should start a fan club on Facebook...)

Troy in Las Vegas said...

Why name the successor the same name? Could no one come up with something original?